Vault Comics 2019
Written by Matt Nicholas & Chad Rebmann
Illustrated by Skylar Patridge
Coloured by Vladimir Popov
Lettered by Andworld Design
Is it all over? Serena’s forces have laid claim to the Fountain of Youth, as Nat confronts the reality of Derek’s terminal cancer. With Queen Adela launching a last bid assault on the pirate intruders, Nat and the other teenagers are faced with a choice: Leave one of their own to die, or embrace their destiny and protect the Oshtia Island from the true nature of man.
Last issue wasn't my favourite but this issue more than makes up for that. The story itself has been really solid and there have been quite a few mysteries building of which answers haven't really been forthcoming. So all in all this first arc in a franchise has me excited with the possibilities of things still to come. I love Vault and what they do and how they find these stories because I really like that these voices and talent get to be seen.
Now that we've met the natives it's time to get the entire gang together and do what their bloodline is supposed to do. Protect the island. How well we'll see but the kids have powers now and it's amazing what a fight for your life can do to your learning curve. Still there are a lot of moving parts in this book and they are all starting to coalesce in some fantastic ways. So we finally learn what connects the kids to one another as well why they were able to find the island. Also it should be noted that Ponce de Leon while was looking for the fountain shouldn't be considered a good man. After all look what the Spanish did the Maya and Inca's and the rest of the South American continent. Still I love seeing the references to that period and that the island has been inhabited for so long by these folks that their memory of the events are pretty much fresh in their minds.
The way that this is being told is marvellous. The story & plot development as seen through the sequence of events unfolding and how the reader learns information is laid down superbly. The character development here is great as we see the characters grow, change and evolve with the situations and circumstances they find themselves in. Nat is a great one to watch go through all her emotions and actions throughout the book. The pacing is good and strong as it takes us through the pages and brings us the twists and turns is so nice to see. The overall ebb & flow of the book highlights how well the book is structured.
The interior artwork here is really nice to see. The one big thing I would say is that we need more backgrounds, this is an island and it has such a myriad of life on it and we should see that. While we get a good amount of them it still feels like it's enclosed and not as open as it should feel. The linework is great and I like how the attention to detail is brought to us through the varying weights. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a strong eye for storytelling. The colour work is fantastic! From the camo that the elder wears and the pattern of her skirt to the way we see the grey hues and tones in the stone all look spectacular. There is a some great shading, highlighting and shadow work happening here as well and the mix of blending and colour blocking works well here.
While the entire arc is a set-up for the kids to meet, come to understand who they are and come from it still leaves a lot of things unanswered. This is great because the interest factor is still there and we want to know more. We want to see more. The classic cliffhanger style ending sealed the deal for me because that blew my mind completely. This whole idea has bloomed and blossomed through these four issues and the roots are strong to carry this franchise into the future. The writing, the characterisation and the interior artwork work well in bringing this to life.